These Airline & Hotel Cards May Soon Be Harder to Get!

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UPDATE:   The offer for the British Airways card in this post has expired.  But check Hot Deals for the latest offers!

Chase has been tightening their credit card application policies.  And now there are rumors they’ll apply the stricter rules to co-branded airline and hotel cards, like the Chase Hyatt, Chase IHG Rewards, or Chase United Explorer.

According to Doctor of Credit, Chase may soon stop approving folks for co-branded cards if they’ve opened ~5 or more credit cards (from any bank) in the past 24 months.

These Airline Hotel Cards May Soon Be Harder To Get

Considering Chase Airline or Hotel Cards? You Might Want to Apply Soon Because the Rules May Soon Change!

I do NOT have confirmation of these changes.  But I’ll share what I know and what you should do if you’ve been considering these cards!

What’s Happening?

Link:   New Rules for Chase Card Approvals and What to Do About It

Link:   Possible Exceptions to New Chase Approval Rules

Link:   Chase Ink Application Rules May Soon Be Changing

Last year, Chase made it harder for folks to get approved for Chase Ultimate Rewards point-earning personal cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom.

If you’ve opened ~5 or more credit cards (from any bank) in the past 24 months, you’re unlikely to get approved (although some folks report exceptions).

And last month, I shared that these new rules would likely be extended to Chase Ultimate Rewards small business cards, like the Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Cash, starting in March 2016.

Now, it’s rumored these restrictions will apply to Chase co-branded airline & hotel cards beginning some time in April 2016.

I do NOT have confirmation.  But Doctor of Credit reports the information comes from a trustworthy source.

These Airline Hotel Cards May Soon Be Harder To Get

If You’ve Opened ~5+ Credit Cards in the Past 24 Months, You Could Soon Have a Hard Time Getting Approved for ANY Chase Card

Cards the new rule could impact include:

These Airline Hotel Cards May Soon Be Harder To Get

Chase Airline and Hotel Cards Can Unlock REALLY Big Travel, Like the Southwest Companion Pass

If this is true, it’s bad news for folks in our hobby who already have lots of cards.  Chase has some of the best airline and hotel rewards cards for Big Travel with Small Money.  Including many of my favorite deals in travel!

What Should You Do?

If you’re new to our hobby, and haven’t yet applied for many cards, the rumored changes shouldn’t affect you in the short term.

But more seasoned miles & points enthusiasts often already have lots of cards.  So this change could narrow your options considerably if you’re thinking about new Chase cards.

If you’ve opened ~5+ cards in the past 24 months, you may want to apply for Chase co-branded cards soon.  And you’ll have some decisions to make, because Chase typically will NOT approve folks for more than 1 or 2 cards at a time.

1.   Evaluate Your Travel Goals

If you’re saving miles & points for a specific trip, this might be your cue to apply for the airline or hotel card that best fits your goals.

Even if your plans aren’t firm, you could consider cards that offer you the most flexibility.  For example, you can use United Airlines miles to book award flights on United Airlines and their Star Alliance partners.  So the Chase United Explorer card could be a good choice.

These Airline Hotel Cards May Soon Be Harder To Get

We’ve Used United Airlines Miles to Fly Partner Airlines Like Lufthansa

If you collect hotel points, the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier might be a solid option, because it has an improved 80,000 Marriott point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements.

And Marriott and Starwood will merge later in 2016 to create the world’s largest hotel chain.  So you’ll have lots of destinations to choose from.

2.   Consider Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences

Cards like the Chase Hyatt can open the door to luxury travel you might not otherwise experience.  With this card, you’ll earn 2 free nights at any Hyatt (including their top-category hotels!) after you complete the minimum spending requirements.

Emily and I used our Chase Hyatt nights at the Park Hyatt Paris – Vendome.  Rooms here can cost over $1,000 per night!

These Airline Hotel Cards May Soon Be Harder To Get

Splurge on a Luxury Stay With the Sign-Up Bonus From the Chase Hyatt Card

The sign-up bonus on this card is very valuable!  And it’s a terrific card to keep, because you’ll get a free night in a category 1 to 4 Hyatt each year on your card anniversary.  It’s a card I gladly pay the annual fee forHere’s my review.

3.   Don’t Forget the Southwest Companion Pass

If getting the Southwest Companion Pass is on your list, the new rules could make it much harder to get.  So applying for cards like the Chase Southwest Premier may be a priority!

That’s because you need to earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.  And applying for 2 Chase Southwest cards can get you most of the way there!

These Airline Hotel Cards May Soon Be Harder To Get

The Chase Southwest Cards Can Open the Door to the Best Deal in Domestic Travel!

I love Southwest because everyone gets 2 free checked bags and there are no change or cancellation fees.  It’s still my favorite deal in domestic travel!

4.   Go for the Big Bonuses

Increased sign-up bonuses come and go, but if the new rules take effect, you may not be able to take advantage of improved offers if you already have lots of cards.

For example, the Chase British Airways card currently offers a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points after meeting the tiered spending requirements.  That’s the highest I’ve seen on this card.

These Airline Hotel Cards May Soon Be Harder To Get

You Can Use British Airways Avios Points for Flights to Europe. Or for Cheap Short-Haul Partner Airline Flights Closer to Home!

Even if you don’t want to earn the full bonus, this card is still a terrific deal.  Remember, you can use British Airways Avios points for cheap short-haul (under 1,150 miles) flights in the US on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines.  Or to book the cheapest awards to Hawaii from the West Coast!

As always, I’ll update you as soon as I hear more details about these changes.

Bottom Line

It’s now rumored that Chase will tighten the application rules for co-branded (airline and hotel) cards starting in April 2016.

Currently, if you’ve opened ~5+ credit cards in the past 24 months, it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for a Chase Ultimate Rewards point-earning personal card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom.  And in March 2016, Chase Ink small business cards may also be affected.

These rules may soon apply to ALL Chase cards.  So if you’ve had your eye on cards like the Chase Hyatt, Chase Marriott Rewards Premier, or Chase Southwest Premier, you should apply soon to be safe.

Chase has some of the best cards for Big Travel with Small Money.  So the new rules will make it much harder for many folks who already have lots of cards.

It’s a good reminder that our hobby is constantly changing, and we have to be ready to adapt.  I’ll share any updates I receive about this new development!

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28 responses to “These Airline & Hotel Cards May Soon Be Harder to Get!

  1. I have the Chase Marriott card and love it so a couple of months ago my husband applied for it as well. He was denied, the first time that has ever happened, even with his great credit score. We were told then that it was because he had opened up too many lines of credit in the past year. When I asked what the magic number was they told us there was no “magic number”, just that he had too many… We called back again and spoke with another representative and they told us the same thing. This was over five months ago… So I have been surprised at all of the blogs talking about Chase’s new rules not starting to include co-branded cards for another month or two because from my experience they have been denying their co-brand cards to people for having too many credit cards opened for quite some time now…

  2. I have an ink bold for about 2 years, an 820 credit score, profitable six figure business, and only had 3 inquiries on my credit report. Applied for a Sapphire preferred and Ink Plus business card on the same day in January. Got instant approved for the Sapphire preferred with 33k credit line and pending on the ink plus. 2 weeks later, got letter denied for ink plus for “too many requests for credit or opened accounts with us.” I was like huh? I literally have only the ink bold and the Sapphire preferred I just got. Anybody have any idea what the heck that means?

  3. I just applied for and was approved today for the Hyatt Credit Card. I have had the Hyatt card one time before a little over two years ago. I have applied for 12 credit cards in the past year. If the changes are coming it would really hurt the hobby as I have always depended on Chase for a lot of good awards.

  4. Is this 5 new credit cards or 5 inquiries on your credit report?

  5. Jennafer, just wondering, how many lines of credit did your husband open in the last year that chase said was too many?

  6. @Brad: Unfortunately it is five credit cards. Even if the credit inquiry shows on another credit report Chase would be able to see all the personal cards opened in the last 2 years on any of your credit report.

  7. Seems as chase is all over the place lately. I’ve had 2 ink cards and the freedom for a couple of years. Picked up the southwest card last year, and just a month ago got instantly approved for the sapphire, for the 2nd time. now have 5 chase cards. Joys comments about having too many open accounts after 2 cards – go figure.

  8. @Joy I have no income, a credit score in the low 600s and have been approved for 7 Chase cards in the last 6 months, including the Sapphire, Freedom and Slate. So either I’m lucky or you’re very unlucky. Regardless, big HAHA at you 😉

  9. @Roy–may be because you are a male. I am still seeing this horrendous sexual discrimination. @joy

  10. @ Barbara – I hope that is a joke as banks are required to operate under a nondiscriminatory capacity and they are very strict about this. Also, as it is computers that are making the initial decisions on these applications, there is no way for anyone to discriminate against you.

  11. Getting approved for multiple cards with lower credit score may indicate they see making more interest as they figure you want pay in in full. Just a thought.

  12. My wife has been denied two times by chase since January. The first time was for her United business card and it was for not enough business income and too new of a business. fair enough I thought. Her second one was a personal card for Hyatt. Turned down again. Too many requests for credit in too short of time. Been doing this for years and these were our first denials ever. I am confinement that your reliable source is very reliable on his information on this subject. Time to rethink how I play the game.

  13. This will change everything the southwest companion pass is such a value but it will be much harder to obtain unless that’s all you sign up for over two years. I wonder if there will be a backlash on chase for this many people will move to citi and others if chase starts denying so many applications they could loose the position as the king of the market…. Let’s hope they don’t follow through with this

  14. @Eric–you’d think, right? What banks are “required” to do and what they do are two different things. The loopholes on applications are numerous. There is always a “male or female” tic box on apps. I make more money than my DH, but he has gotten accepted for more credit cards and with higher limits than I, and I am not a risk.
    I wonder if I “accidentally on purpose” checked the “male” box on apps and made my app with my initials only, if there would be a different outcome.
    Erik, like Roy, you are male. Lucky you in the credit card application game.

  15. @Barbara – banking application software is audited and there is no way that a flag indicating if applicant is a female that more stringent rules must be in place. Also, keep in mind that application software is written and designed by diverse teams of men and women. If you are still worried that banks are out to get you, don’t check the gender box, you are not required to give out that information and are protected by your Equal Credit Opportunity rights. I also advise you to Google these to understand what rules lenders operate under.

  16. All this means is that you need to strategize accordingly. If you’ve been in this game a while you should already have a decent amount of cards and points. Just be smart about the timing of your applications in the future and don’t get too greedy. If you’re new to the game, then you have no worries.

  17. Some of those denials could be for too much extended credit and not too many apps/cards. The CSR sometimes does not word it exactly. I drop my line to $5k per card to avaiod that issue.

    @Scott…”decent amount of points”. Bite your tongue. We all want an absurd amount of points and miles. That’s why we take the time and hassle to play the game. As redemption amounts go up and earning possibilities go down, we will need that stockpile.

  18. So some think the hammer has already dropped. Perhaps the new rules are being phased in and will reach all customers in April. I think I won’t risk it.

  19. @smoky: I’m curious about why you say, “some think the hammer has already dropped”. Any details you can share?

  20. Just mean that some commenters at FlyerTalk, DoC, etc. think the policy is already in place. They came to this view based on their own experiences, in many cases having had 5/24 cited by a Chase rep. I see others doubting this. I think it could be true as software now allows program changes to get incremental rollouts.

  21. Just wondering if the current offer on the BA card will expire before long. I have no interest in the outsized spend needed to get the additional bonuses, so would rather apply with the “regular” offer which waived the annual fee for a year. The timing is right now also for me for the Marriott card, so if the April 1 date is real, I’m going to need to come up with a strategy. I opened nine accounts total last year across all banks, not crazy at all in this game, but the new policy would keep me from getting another Chase card for some time.

  22. With this new rule do they lump in the 5/24 rule to include both personal and business cards you have opened if you are applying for a personal card or do the business cards only come into play when applying for their business cards?

  23. Such bad news! My companion pass just expired at the end of 2015. I just canceled my personal Southwest Visa card (still have the business card), to avoid the annual fee. I opened the personal Visa in Feb. 2014 and received the 50,000 bonus in May 2014. I was planning to cancel my business card soon and reapply for the personal Southwest Visa in May and the business Visa in July of this year, so that it would be more than 24 months since I last received the bonus. I have opened more than 5 credit cards in the past 24 months. Is there anything I can do to still get these bonuses?

  24. I guess it is all luck of the draw. I have a credit score of mid 800’s and have never defaulted on a payment (always paid in full each month). Got turned down by Chase for a Chase Sapphire card application in January and now for a
    Southwest Personal Card. Called Chase reconsideration line on both occasions, and each time still denied after chatting with the rep for over 10-15 minutes pleading my case. Credit History is not the consideration, nor the personal income for the denial. Just that I had opened TWO CARDS IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS!! This was what I was told each time.

  25. Pingback: What Chase Cards Should You Get Now While It's Still Possible? - View from the Wing

  26. I agree with some opinions expressed above – my wife first got denied CSP roughly in October and now she got denied British Airways card despite non-waived AF and the fact that this is a cobranded card. Looks like Chase has already built a list of criteria to deny and ANY “consistent” applications in the past cause scrutiny in the process…
    I guess Chase just got tired of being “bonus cow” for a long time lol.

  27. I was coming back from LAS on March 15th and was persuaded to apply for the Southwest Chase card (premier?, 50K miles bonus after 2 grand) which goes along with the Plus one I already have and used on that flight (40K miles bonus after 1 grand). I am glad I applied when I did, however Chase only hits Experian which screws me up as they hit it twice in the fall. After spending 2 more gs, I should have about 70K miles left which should fund at least two if not three more trips to LAS over the next two years.

  28. http://www.uscreditcardguide.com/new-policy-for-chase-credit-card-approvals/
    Darius do you know anything about this -> applying in branch ?